Base Camp introduces Nordic possibilities

AVSC staff report
A skier in the AVSC Base Camp program practices a turn on one of the trails that goe aroiund the public school campus. Next weekend, the trails will be filled with high school and middle school racers competing in a Saturday duathlon.
Maria Stuber/Special to The Aspen Times |

The Base Camp programs for AVSC Nordic skiers kicked off last week on the same trails where 2014 Olympians Noah Hoffman and Simi Hamilton honed their cross country skiing skills.

Programs range in duration from one day per week for the youngest athletes to three days/week for the Devo skiers.

“It can be fun and games or as challenging as you want it to be,” said Maria Stuber, Nordic program director. (There is also an AVSC program at Spring Gulch tailored to athletes who live downvalley.)

Turning through an obstacle course was one of the fun games the skiers enjoyed during the season’s first organized activities. Coming up this weekend is a non-competitive, untimed race for the newbies.

“The point of the Base Camp race is we don’t want to think about results. We want to be able to associate what they’re doing with Simi and Noah,” Stuber said.

Or maybe they can think about current AVSC team members including Hailey Swirbul, 15, who recently completed an outstanding series in Soldier Hollow, Utah.

At the 2014 U.S. Cross Country Championships, Swirbul’s results were so solid that she earned the rare opportunity to compete at the Junior World Championships in Italy and the Scando Cup.

Swirbul leaves at month’s end for the Scando Cup in Rovaniemi, Finland, her coach said.

Other role models for the Base Camp skiers could include the team of middle school and high school athletes who raced last weekend in Summit County.

There, according to Stuber, the entire boys team and the majority of the girls qualified for the state meet at Nederland in February.

“The team did really well,” she said. “It’s really encouraging to see. But I’m thinking we’ve got more to show” in the future.

Next weekend, competitors may enjoy a little home-field advantage during the Aspen Nordic Festival. The fest includes a high school duathlon on Saturday, a continuous pursuit race where the athletes change out equipment midstream.

The event offers plenty of excitement for spectators.

High school age skiers begin their 6-kilometer races at 11 a.m. and noon; the middle school 3K race kicks off at 1 p.m. and 1:45 p.m.

Before either the high school or middle school duathlon races is the untimed Base Camp race at 10 a.m. There, “everyone is a winner,” Stuber said.

Expect a busy weekend on the Moore Open Space trails and at the Aspen Highlands freestyle venue where a pair of Rocky Mountain Moguls contests will be staged Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday is the open moguls division while Sunday features dual moguls.

For more on the freestyle events, be sure to tune into “Weekly with Walt,” today (Jan. 15) on GrassRoots Television.

Guests include Eric Knight, freestyle/freeride director and AVSC athletes Aaron Lee, Colby Lee and Sierra Reeves. The show airs at 7 p.m. on Channel 12 (Channel 82 below Catherine’s Store) and is repeated continuously throughout the week.


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